To help protect the health and wellbeing of industry participants, staff and fans during the developing COVID-19 pandemic Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) will immediately restrict attendance at race meetings to licenced participants with a horse engaged and essential staff only.

Today’s announcement from HRV follows the Prime Minister yesterday declaring all arrivals to Australia must self-isolate for 14 days, while cruise ships will be banned from docking at any Australian port for 30 days due to COVID-19.

The Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer has also declared a ban on public gatherings of 500 or more people from today.

“We acknowledge this is a significant decision, but first and foremost we must protect the health and wellbeing of our people,” HRV CEO Dayle Brown said.

“Our position is to continue to listen to the advice from the medical experts and act accordingly to mitigate risk to health.

“Yes, some owners will be disappointed they cannot attend the races for the next little while, but I’d ask everyone to please remember that this is a developing and unprecedented situation and we’re in this together.”

HRV has been in regular communication with the State Government, the Victorian Trainers and Drivers Association and Trots Clubs Victoria in framing its COVID-19 response.

From today HRV has also moved to limit the number of staff working at tracks and in the HRV Office to “essential staff only” with industry operations to continue via staff working remotely.  

“We have a business continuity plan in place with staff set up to operate remotely. This will ensure harness racing in Victoria continues to operate, but I would ask those contacting HRV to please be patient because there will be some adjustment required,” Mr Brown said.

The CEO Consultation Tour sessions at Ballarat and Ararat have been postponed until further notice.

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